Mercer Watch Co Airfoil — hands-on review
Ever since Scott Vuocolo founded Mercer Watch Company (MVC), he keeps surprising me and his fan base with more and more desirable models. When you would think that, OK, he nailed it, the watch is absolutely amazing, Scott would launch a new model that raises the bar even higher. It is the same with his latest model, the Airfoil, a pilot’s watch that surpasses anything Mercer has done before, not only in design but also in specifications, specs that will put to shame many watches in this price range.
Unpacking a watch is always a thrilling experience, or at least it should be. Spoiler alert! The packaging of the Airfoil was a really nice surprise for me, and if you wish to keep it intact, just skip this paragraph. The Airfoil comes in a dark grey cardboard box that hides a blue lacquered wooden box. I was not expecting it at all this choice of colour for the box, there was no blue in the pictures of the Airfoil I saw, but as we will see later, blue makes total sense in this case, and it looks stunning. There is also a little booklet, the manual and the warranty of the watch. It is probably the only aspect of the packaging that leaves room for improvement — the printing quality and choice of paper is not in tune with the rest.
There are two versions of the Airfoil, black DLC coated or stainless steel. On both, the stainless steel is ruggedized, making it seven times harder than a regular 316L stainless steel. Such treatments we saw with Sinn and a few other tool watch manufacturers. The model I received on loan for this review was “the regular” stainless steel version that had a darker grey hue, almost like gunmetal, with a fine brushed surface. This reinforces the tool watch allure of the Airfoil. Don’t be fooled by the 40 mm diameter of the case, the Airfoil feels and wears larger on the wrist.
The dial has two layers, a flat chapter ring with tiny luminous minute marks and the base layer that holds the stainless steel numerals and the indexes as well as the lume-filled triangle at 12. The stainless steel hours and minutes hands are filled with luminous coating, while the seconds hand complements the red from the triangle and the “automatic” inscription above the date window at six. These are the parts that make up the dial of the Airfoil, we need to talk about the effect they create when working together. The polished numerals, indexes and hands are almost floating in a dark empty space, and when you get into a dark room, the BG-W9 SuperLuminova kicks in with full power. My favourite memory of the Airfoil was when I checked the time in a dimly lit room, the lume was shining and as I was turning my wrist at one point the little light present in the room hit the polished surface of numerals and the hands. The effect was breathtaking.
The see-through back of the Airfoil proudly reveals it’s Swiss heart, a Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement, with a beautiful blue rotor. This is when I understood that blue is a returning motif for MWC, they will use it again and again in designing their watches and the packaging. The blue rotor reminds me the red rotor of Oris, and I think MWC should keep using it as a distinguishing element of their watches.
When purchasing the Airfoil, you can choose between four straps, the review model came with lined cognac Shell Cordovan strap which was really comfortable and well made. If I would buy an Airfoil, I would probably opt for the black strap, I just feel it would look complement better the matt black of the dial. Another cool option that I saw on MWC’s Instagram account is the Airfoil on red perlon!
It was a real pleasure taking the Airfoil on a “flight test”, it is a watch that I will remember for its design, pragmatic as any tool watch should be, but also with a fair share of pleasant surprises for its wearer. Yes, Scott nailed it again, the bar is high, very high and now I’m curious to see what will come next. Well, there is a “Coming Soon” picture on the MWC homepage that has a picture of a chronograph with a panda dial, I can’t wait to learn more about it. In the meantime, check out the two versions of the Airfoil in the online shop of MWC. The price is $899, which is more than fair for a watch with these specs:
- 40mm diameter by 11 mm hardened stainless steel case (1200 Vickers – over 7 times harder than the base 316L stainless steel)
- Double domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
- Sellita SW200-1 26 jewel Swiss automatic movement
- Matte black dial with polished steel numbers & indices
- SuperLuminova BG-W9
- Colour matched date wheel with date at 6 o’clock
- 20mm lug width
- Fine shell cordovan strap
- 10 ATMs water resistance (100 meters)
- Signed, screw down crown
- Two-year limited warranty